Novak Djokovic will replace Rafael Nadal as the world’s top player on Monday after a two-year absence, the elevation made easier after Nadal pulled out from the Paris Masters.
The Serb described his return to the world number one ranking as a “phenomenal achievement”.
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The 31-year-old’s elevation is remarkable as it comes just five months after he slumped to 22 in the world — his lowest ranking for 12 years — when he was knocked out of the French Open in the quarter-finals.
Since then, however, he has won Wimbledon and the US Open, taking his Grand Slam tally to 14, winning 20 consecutive tour-level matches for the sixth time, and 29 of his past 30 encounters.
“Reflecting on what I’ve been through in the last year, it’s quite a phenomenal achievement,” said Djokovic who will face Marin Cilic for a spot in the semi-finals.
“I’m very, very happy and proud about it. Five months ago, it was highly improbable considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court.
“I’ll probably be able to speak more profoundly about it when the season is done and hopefully if I get to finish as No. 1.”
Djokovic was guaranteed a return to the ranking summit when Nadal withdrew from Paris with an abdominal injury on Wednesday.
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“It’s not the end of the season. Rafa obviously is struggling with injuries since the US Open. But the race is still there,” added Djokovic after extending his sequence of consecutive winning sets to 30, passing his previous best mark of 29 from 2015.
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